Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Its been a long time, but we're all still here!

It has been a good while since I've blogged.  I had someone ask me just the other day what has become of my bees and me, so I knew then that it was time to jump online and do an update.

Its not because I don't care anymore or that I've lost interest.  Oh no, far from it.  It seems that I got lost in time around late summer when my brother got sick, and then his death.  Then it seemed like I just didn't have enough time to do things.  Throw in my yearly vacation and then back to work, and broadcasters will tell you that one of the busiest times of the year is between Halloween and the new year.  So I've definitely had my hands full and unfortunately, blogging had to take a back seat.  But I hope to get back in the groove and get back to blogging about my love for beekeeping.

My bees are doing okay.  As you probably know, I have three hives.  The yellow hive is the oldest and the orange and lime hives were established this year. 

All three colonies are doing okay, but I have to admit that I'm a little worried about the lime colored hive.  It seem to have the smallest number of bees of the three.  As I took the top off the hive to check for honey stores, I could look down through the frames and see the bottom board.  There were bees in there, but unlike the other two colonies still booming with bees, the lime hive has what seems to be lower numbers.  And honestly I think its the queen in that hive.  This colony was slower to get off the ground, the queen would do fine in laying for awhile and then get spotty, and it seems like they just didn't do as well as the other two. 

The other two colonies?  They're fine it seems.  I have a feeling I'll feed them through the winter just to make sure they'll do okay; syrup until they stop taking it, and if necessary, the "mountain camp" method until spring. 

As of now, I'm sure I'll replace the queen in the lime hive this spring, probably with a Minnesota Hygienic.  As I look back now, I should have replaced her this fall, but with everything going on I just didn't have time.  But if the colony makes it until spring, I'll replace her.  The queen in the orange hive (which is a sister to the queen in the lime hive..they came from the same queen breeder) has done rather well and I hope she will keep going strong.  And I plan to keep the queen in the yellow hive even though she has some age on her (she was my first queen) -- and she'll stay as long as she keeps laying a good pattern.  So far, so good.  We'll see if she cranks up and gets going this coming spring.  Some beekeepers believe in replacing their queens every two years, but my theory is, as long as a queen does a good job, just leave her alone.

So that's it, a brief update.  As you can see, we're all doing okay, and if we can all make it thorough the next few months, we'll get started up again this spring.  As of right now, I'm making a list of things I need for the coming year including hive equipment.  I have a feeling I'll have more bees this spring.  Thing is...where will I put them?  Wow...now theres even more to think about!

More updates soon!